Tyree Bastidas – most dominant teenager of the men’s open division - becomes youngest ever to capture longest winning streak in USHA history - tops Chapman, again.
Above: Tyree Bastidas acknowledges his fans' round of applause by raising his hands in a sign of victory after beating Satish Jagnandan for the second time.
Above: Tyree Bastidas pounds the ball in the final match against Satish Jagnandan at the Mayor's Cup. Bastidas extended his winning streak in front of his fans after coming off an injury.
Tyree Bastidas, the youngest all-around junior player to win the USHA national crown, captured another record held by David Chapman since 1993. He ripped another page from the Chapman playbook by going on a tear through the men’s open draw at USHA-sanctioned 1-wall Pro Stops.
We all had seen it coming for months, perhaps years. Slowly but surely, the handball world has been witnessing the rise and triumph of the greatest junior handball player.
T. Bastidas doesn’t seem to slow down when it comes to breaking records and capturing milestones at the open national level. This time, he captured another record by dominating the men’s open division as a teenager, way before he won the national open title in 2010. Bastidas emerged as a leading pro in 2009, when he won the HES 1-wall pro stop.
Undoubtedly, Tyree and David are the youngest teenagers to hold the longest winning streaks at the open level, but Bastidas surged ahead to become the youngest player to earn this honor when his winning streak was recently cut short by Pewee Castro in the final of the 2011 USHA National One-Wall Championships. Chapman’s winning streak was cut short by O. Silveyra in the semifinal of the Spalding Gatorade Pro Tour in 1994.
Bastidas and Chapman’s winning streaks are detailed as follow:
1993 USHA National 4-Wall Championships(Baltimore) – 6 rounds.
1994 Spalding Gatorade Pro Tour(Seattle) - 4 rounds.
1994 Spalding Gatorade Pro Tour(San Francisco) - 4 rounds.
1994 Spalding Gatorade Pro Tour(Detroit) – 3 rounds*.
Total consecutive-undefeated rounds won by Chapman: 17 rounds.
*Chapman was defeated by T. Silveyra in the semifinal.
2009 HES 1-Wall Pro-Stop(Brooklyn) – 5 rounds.
2010 USHA National 1-Wall Championships (Coney Island) - 4 rounds.
2010 HES 1-Wall Pro-Stop(Brooklyn) – 5 rounds.
2011 Mayor’s Cup 1-Wall Pro Stop(Manhattan) – 4 rounds.
2011 USHA National 1-Wall Championships (Coney Island) - 3 rounds*
Total consecutive-undefeated rounds won by Bastidas: 21 rounds.
* Bastidas was defeated by Y. Castro in the final.
Tyree Bastidas is the only junior player in the history of the game to hold the longest winning streaks in both; the juniors and the men’s open draw. If you did not think Tyree Bastidas was the most dominant teenager of the men's open division in any handball version, think again!
Above from left: Paul Williams and Tyree Bastidas pose together at Bastidas' last ICHA High School handball competition.
The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and members and players of the USHA are doing their part to raise donations to help find a cure by selling pink wristbands to benefit the Susan G Komen for the cure.
Paul Williams, Founder and President of ICHA (Inner City Handball Association) contributes thousands of dollars per year to the Leukemia Society on behalf of ICHA. He gets most of his financial support from the handball community which helps and contributes to this worthy cause that Williams has taken up for the past decade. It’s part of his efforts to instill community commitment in the players.
Please help the USHA and ICHA raise funds for the Susan G Komen for the cure and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which focus 100 % on a disease that at some point has affected us, our families and our friends.
Above from left: Tyree Bastidas at the final of an ICHA junior tournament.
Handball News from your Handball Experts October 14,2011
Dear Handball Fan,
Happy Friday!! Here is your weekend edition of Court Shorts.
Court Shorts Trivia
Last week's Trivia: The 4-Wall Junior Nationals are coming back to Tucson! What year was this event last held in Tucson? Name the two players who competed that year that have gone on to win an open singles USHA national championship!
Answer: Tyree Bastidas and Aisling Reilly, 2007. Bastidas won the Boys 17-under division and then won the 2010 One-Wall Nationals open singles title. Reilly won the Girls 19-under and went on to win the 2010 4-Wall Nationals open singles title.
Submit your answers to
Above: New USHA Hall of Fame member A. Apuzzi surrounded by his immediate family.
Above: Portrait of Albert Apuzzi by Alvis Grant from Texas.
Above from left: Rosemarie Bellini, Albert Apuzzi and Dori Ten.
Above from left: National 1-wall USHA champions C. Sala (small ball) and John Wright (big ball) pose with USHA 1-wall record holder and USHA Hall of Famer Albert Apuzzi.
Above: The audience listens as ICHA officers begin the Award Dinner.
Above: Albert Apuzzi talks during the dinner reception with ICHA officer Glenn Hall behind him.
Above: ICHA Founder, President and Editor Paul Williams poses with his niece at Citrus restaurant.
Upbeat and bustling Citrus restaurant overflowed with handball players when Paul Williams held the ICHA Season End Award Dinner on Thursday 20, 2011 to formally recognize handball players for their contributions, merits and support of the fraternal organization.
The honorees were lauded during the Award Dinner. Among the celebrated group was Yuber Castro for his extraordinary run in the men’s open draw. Danielle Daskalakis was hailed as one of the best junior players of the year along with Sandy Ng.
Volunteers B. O’Donnell, Cheryl and Shirley Chen were honored too. These members have distinguished themselves through their outstanding community service.
Other awardees included Paul Angel for his constant efforts on training young women to play at the USHA and ICHA handball tournaments. Coaches for Midwood and Brooklyn Tech high schools were also credited for their successful handball season– all of them saluted for their support of the ICHA organization.
To top off the night, Paul Williams, on behalf of the USHA inducted Albert Apuzzi into the Hall of Fame. A. Apuzzi is one of the greatest if not the greatest one-wall handball player in USHA. He is a USHA 1-wall record holder and the only player who has reached the most finals in the men’s open draw in singles and doubles (combined), indoor and outdoor.
Several speakers including Glenn Hall, Paul Williams and Nail Flaum delivered key speeches to honor our new USHA Hall of Famer, Albert Apuzzi, but the best speaker who stole the spotlight of the night was Apuzzi’s partner for life, Dori Ten. She delivered and emotional and inspiring speech that kept the audience glued to their seat.
The Inner City Handball Association, Inc. presented the 17th Annual ICHA Raffle to benefit the Inner City Junior Handball Development Program.
Congratulations to all USHA and ICHA members for turning this event into a special night to remember for many years to come.
Above: Paul Williams at a Brooklyn Park where he usually holds ICHA junior tournaments.
Above: Junior players posing in one of the first ICHA-USHA-1-wall sanctioned junior championships in the early 90s.
Twenty Years Ago, Paul Williams's Tournament in Crown Heights Days After the Riots Helped Spur the Growth of His Sport
BY SCOTT CACCIOLA
The day before he was set to run only his second junior handball tournament, Paul Williams loaded his Volvo 760 with supplies and prepared for the worst. He brought cement to patch up holes, paint to cover up graffiti and a broom to sweep up debris.
This was Aug. 23, 1991—20 years ago this week—and Williams wanted the event to go off without a hitch to ensure the survival of the Inner City Handball Association, which he had launched as a way to foster opportunities for young players. And as he made the drive from his home on Long Island, he wondered what he would see when he arrived at his destination: St. John's Recreation Center in Crown Heights, the Brooklyn neighborhood that just days before had been the scene of one of the city's worst race riots in decades.
"People were like, 'You're still going to have a tournament? That's insane,'" Williams said. "But when you have a vision about doing something, achieving something, I think you can inspire people to take a hold of that. And for a lot of us, that common bond was handball."
The tournament was a success, a remarkable scene in the wake of an ugly episode. About 30 players from different parts of the city found their way to the park on Prospect Place.
Kendell Lewis, one of the players who participated, recalled that he could "sense the tension" in the community—the young son of Guyanese immigrants had been crushed by a car in the motorcade of an Hasidic rabbi, sparking three days of violence. The handball courts became an unlikely refuge, a place for calm and competition.
"That incident wasn't going to stop me from doing something that I felt was important," Williams said.
The Inner City Handball Association, also known as the ICHA, is still going strong. Tournaments regularly draw more than 200 players, and Williams, a technology consultant, remains the driving force. "The amount of time and the amount of effort that he's put out—it ain't easy," said Joe Kaplan, long one of the city's top professionals and one of the boys who played after the riots.
Williams said he benefited from ample support as a teenager. Jewish clubs sponsored him and so did the YMCA, and that alone was an indication of the game's diverse appeal. He said he recognized that people from all walks of life played the sport. It was part of the city's cultural fabric, transcending ethnic boundaries and color lines. And there was beauty in its simplicity—a slab of concrete and a rubber ball. What could be more quintessentially New York than that?
"You'd see bigotry in different communities as a kid," said Williams, who grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant. "But the thing is, people respected talent. It didn't matter what neighborhood you were in—if you could play handball, there was a place for you."
The game carried Williams beyond his neighborhood, far from the three parks in Brooklyn where he honed his skills: St John's, St. Andrew's Playground and Lincoln Terrace. As a pro, he competed across the United States—he won his first national title at age 30, later appearing on the cover of Handball magazine—and in Europe.
He also came to realize something important: He wanted other junior players to have the same opportunities he did.
Williams's work as a handball mentor was informal at first. In 1990, after Williams lost a close contest at a tournament on Coney Island, a teenage spectator named Kendell Lewis gave him a hard time. "Man, you shouldn't have lost that game," Lewis recalled telling Williams. Williams must have seen something of himself in Lewis, who was such a handball enthusiast that he had skipped school that day and biked to Coney Island for the matches.
Soon enough, Williams was shepherding Lewis, Kaplan and a couple of other promising players to weekend tournaments. Lewis, now 37, has fond memories of those trips, and he said he feels grateful for the investment that Williams made in him.
"He would drive two-and-a-half hours from his home in Long Island to pick me up in Brooklyn, and he did that every Saturday for about six or seven months," said Lewis, who works as a mechanical engineer in Charlotte, N.C.
Williams eventually took the step of forming the ICHA. He felt there was a lack of organized events for younger players, and he planned a summer-long series known as the "Inner City Classics"—one tournament every other weekend, at various handball courts throughout the city.
The goal, Williams said, was to make the events both affordable ($5 entry fees) and enticing ($50 savings bonds and trophies for the winners, T-shirts and refreshments for everyone). He estimated that it would cost roughly $3,000 to run each tournament, and some of his fundraising efforts were more successful than others.
He said he spent $15,000 out of pocket to print 5,000 calendars that featured action shots of some of the city's best players. It proved a dubious venture. During an interview late last month, he pointed to a stack of copies in his basement. "That calendar probably helped get me divorced," he said.
Still, he deemed his first tournament, held at St. Andrew's Playground in early August 1991, enough of a hit that he hoped to draw more players for his second event—also in Crown Heights.
It was a case of very bad timing. Because of the riots, Williams said he considered canceling the tournament. But he worried that he would lose any momentum his nascent organization had generated: Could this be the end of the ICHA?
His anxiety mounted four days before the scheduled start of the tournament when he heard that an angry mob, at the height of the riots, had dragged newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin from a taxi and stripped and robbed him—just two blocks from St. John's Recreation Center.
Two days later, Williams surveyed the scene for himself and found that things had quieted down, particularly in the area around the park. He said he felt it was safe.
On the day of the tournament, the mood was still raw. Hundreds of police officers patrolled the streets. Some of the participants and their parents took out-of-the-way routes to the park, circumventing sections of Crown Heights that might be dangerous.
Lewis recalled people from the neighborhood milling about at an adjacent basketball court.
"You could tell there was a lot of anger and hate," he said. "But once you got on the court, you were only thinking about the game."
Write to Scott Cacciola at firstname.lastname@example.org